Review: Don’t Bother Me Mom–I’m Learning!

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Nails It–Secretary of Education Needs to Read This Book,

April 27, 2007

Marc Prensky

I was introduced to the author’s work on Digital Natives by a very smart and unusually open-minded colleague at the National Geospatial Agency, and I am hooked as well as relieved.

The greatest complement I can give this book is that my 15-year old, a master of Warlock, saw this book come in the door and immediately took it away from me and read it overnight. He gives it high marks.

This is also the book that inspired me to take Serious Games and Games for Change *very* seriously. Most gamers do not understand the need to work toward an EarthGame that includes actual budgets and actual science, but Medard Gabel of BigPictureSmallWorld gets it, and that’s enough for me.

The list of games provided at the end by the author, to create a serious game home learning environment, is priceless. Some may be overtaken by events but the bottom line is that digital learning is vastly superior to rote learning in schools.

I am a participant in three Hacker communities–Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) based in New York, Hac-Tic based in Amsterdam, and Hackers/THINK based in California. I have met thousands of hackers over the years, and I am certain that the best and the brightest are not those with straight A’s in the current school system, but those that tune out the high school regime by their junior year, and start learning what they want to learn on their own. My oldest son just won first prize in the Fairfax County digital music content, representing his school, but he will not graduate because he refuses to spend time on Algebra 2. He has very high SAT scores, will pass the GED with an almost perfect score, and will take digital music and digital art courses at three colleges in the DC area as a non-degree candidate. I go on at length here because this is both very personal for me, and also a national disaster–our entire curriculum is so out of date, and taught by so many drones, the few master teachers not withstanding, that I completely understand why our national ranking in math and science is out the window, why we have fallen to 7th on the national innovation scale, behind three Nordic countries and three Asian countries.

I admire this author. In a most positive manner, he is telling us the Secretary of Education is quite naked, and what we can do about it. This is a foundation book for any parent of “digital natives.”

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